New York PSC approves revival of 48-MW Binghamton cogen plant

The New York State Public Service Commission on Dec. 11 granted an expedited approval needed by Binghamton BOP LLC for the revival of a power plant shut since 2012.

In a petition filed on Aug. 22, 2014, Binghamton BOP requested issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessary (CPCN) and application of a lightened regulatory regime to its operation of the 47.7-MW Binghamton Cogeneration Plant located in Binghamton, New York. The Binghamton Plant was retired in 2012 by its then-owner, Standard Binghamton LLC, and Binghamton BOP purchased it later that year.

Binghamton BOP requested commission authorizations to commence operations at the Binghamton Plant by the end of 2014, for which it requires a CPCN.

The land upon which the Binghamton Plant is located is owned by Binghamton Land LLC, an affiliate of Binghamton BOP. Both affiliates are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Wellhead Equipment Leasing LLC, which in turn is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wellhead Electric Co. Inc. Binghamton BOP said that Wellhead is developing a 624 MW gas-fired combined cycle facility in the San Francisco Bay region and currently owns and operates nine power plants in California and one in Oregon.

Before it was retired, the Binghamton Plant was capable of operating on natural gas or fuel oil; upon commencing operations following re-commissioning, Binghamton BOP said that it intends to operate the facility using natural gas, but will reserve the option to use fuel oil. When Binghamton BOP purchased the Binghamton Plant, its parent, Wellhead, removed the gas turbine generator from the plant but retained the remainder of the equipment on site, where personnel performed weekly maintenance activities. The turbine is an LM 5000 unit manufactured by General Electric, has been maintained in a similar status at a Wellhead-owned location in California. The company plans to reinstall the original turbine or use an identical model. Once theBinghamton Plant is re-commissioned and restored to service, its heat input and power production ratings should be the same as they were prior to the 2012 shutdown.

Binghamton BOP reported that it has notified New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) of the intent to resume operations, and that it is coordinating the restoration of gas service to the Binghamton Plant with work on the electrical interconnection needed to reconnect the plant to the bulk power system.

Said the Dec. 12 PSC ruling in approving the CPCN: “After delineating the restoration and re-commissioning work, Binghamton BOP states that it intends to sell the 47.7 MW output of the Binghamton Plant into the NYISO‘s energy, capacity, and ancillary services markets. Its parent, Wellhead, is described as an experienced operator of gas-fired generating facilities committed to complying with the relevant design, construction, and operating requirements of the National Electric Safety Code and other applicable engineering codes. Moreover, the Binghamton Plant has been maintained in a condition that allows for its re-commissioning without the need for a major overhaul or extensive capital investments, with the cost for reconnection work estimated between $100,000 and $125,000. This amount would be financed from internal funds. It thus appears re-commissioning of the Binghamton Plant is feasible and that Binghamton BOP can satisfactorily finance the improvements, adequately perform the re-commissioning work, and capably operate the Plant upon commencement of service.” 

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.